Taylorsville recap

Road trip to Dougs Friday morning for some openers then it was off to KY to Dawn's for some R&R before the early get up for Saturday morning's race. Woke at 4:30, out of the house by 5:30, drove almost an hour in the rain to the race venue at Taylorsville State Park in Kentucky's rolling hill country, very beautiful area!
The rain stopped just as we were entering the Park so that was a good thing. Got unpacked, number pick up and it was a quick run and bike and then donn the wetsuit for the first open water swim of the year. Jumped in and swam about 400 meters for a bit of a warm up to get loose and I was feeling pretty good. Water temp was about 68-70 just right for a wetsuit. Horn went off and I was soon toward the front of the group with the leaders getting a gap by the first buoy. I was content going at my pace which was high tempo and never got into the red zone at all. Exited the water in 6th position, had a good T-1 and was soon climbing hills on the bike. I rode strong and made up 5 spots and rolled into T-2 in 2nd overall. Another good transition and was soon on the hilly run course and feeling good. I hit the half way mark on the run and was still sitting 2nd on the road, made the turn back and saw another runner running me down FAST! He ran up behind me, sat on my shoulder for a bit when he made his move. I stuck my hand out, told him to finish strong because he was obviously a much faster runner than I. He slapped my hand and said lets go...I picked up my pace to almost anerobic to try to go with him but he was just too fast. I backed it down out of the red and knew I had a comfortable gap to hold on for 3rd overall and thats the way it stayed to the finish. Doug finished 4th overall on a nice first race of the season too. He had a good run for not doing too much run training this season yet. He'll come around since he's going to Worlds in London this summer :-)

Overall I felt good in this race. I was solid in all three disciplines which means all the winter training is paying off...hopefully!

This weekend is Clays Park and the NEO triathlon season kickoff. Hope to have another good race against some of the best competition in this area, this race is always as tough as they get.


Serious blog neglect

First post here since February, damn, I almost forgot I even had a blog...
Besides a few trail running races earlier this year and the OMBC Mohican MTB race, it's just been training as usual. Well not really as usual since I changed things up a bit for this season. I suffered from some serious ITBS after the Regis 1/2, but that was mainly from ramping up my running mileage after cross too quick and running lots of hills around here and in the CVNP where I could absolutely run trails all day, pretty much what I did until my left Iliotibial band said that's enough of that, I need a break. So, I sought out some much needed relief my friend and massage therapist extrordinare Chris Martino and paid him a few visits. He worked his magic on me and had me saying cuss words that I haven't said in years, but the pain he inflicted on me worked and he really gave great advise as to how to treat ITBS. I highly recommend Chris to anyone that needs a deep massage for nagging injuries or just maintenance massages, he does a great job and is highly professional.

I have been running pain free now and have ramped up my mileage and speed training for tri season and haven't felt better in years. Swim training has been going good too. We've been averaging three days a week in the water and sometimes four with a long main set on the weekend. The bike is feeling strong as well. The plan is more mountain bike racing this season in prep for cross season in the Fall. We've got some XTERRA tris on the schedule as well. XTERRA Clear Fork near Cincy and XTERRA Appalachain in Indiana PA. Love ridin that new Felt 9 29er. Along with Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Taylorsville Multisport Festival in Taylorsville Kentucky and Presque Isle Triathlon in PA, most of the racing will be in Ohio, with a few HFP's thrown in there too, good solid competition in those races for sure.

Looks like Ohio is going to be a hot-bed for cross this year too, so not much reason for any long distance travelling to race. Between the three big cities there's going to be enough cross racing to make us all happy and some intense competition with the new Ohio Cup...... More details to be announced later ;-)

Well that's about it for now until I give some race reports and recaps. I hope everyone is doing well, race season is upon us and some of the bike racing is very intense at this point. It always amazes me year after year how everyone come's into the early season so strong and fit. Just goes to show what a great area this is for competitive racing. Keep up the great work everyone, stay safe and train hard.



Where's everone at?

I know not too many folks read blogs anymore, and I've been pretty lax on updating this thing since cyclocross has been over, so I'm guilty of blog neglect too.

Not a whole lot going on lately, just base stuff on the bike with some climbing at a hard pace when we've been able to ride outside.. lots of meters in the pool and minimal running since the Run for Regis 1/2 trail marathon on January 13th. which I finished 9th overall by the way ;-)  Been feeling pretty decent lately since I've eased off of the training to re-cupe after a long 2012 season. I've been seeing Chris Martino for some much needed massage therapy which has made me feel better too.  Both Tony and I got new Felt 29er mtb's and have been riding those quite a bit and plan on doing more mountain bike racing once again in 2013 along with some XTERRA triathlons. Looking forward to some nicer weather coming up so we can get out and enjoy this stuff we love so much on a more consistant basis. The easy off season stuff is nice and much needed but it's always nice to be able to get out on the bike in nice weather without spending fifteen minutes getting dressed so we won't freeze to death..

See you all soon.


2012 & 2013

Looking back on the 2012 season I was mostly happy with my training and racing. I was a little more focused on specific area's of training and incorporated some new workout's that targeted those area's which I believe paid off for me in races for the most part. I plan on doing more of the same in 2013 with a lil tweek here and there, but mostly I'm just going to be working on bettering my technique in all disciplines which will result in more efficiency, not necessarily more speed, which I will just try to maintain...Lets be honest, at this age it's pretty hard to get too much faster than we already are, so efficiency and maintenance are key. So as I enter the 2013 season another year older and I'd like to say a bit wiser, my focus and determination is just as strong as in years past if not stronger. I have one specific race that haunts me though and that's USAT Age Group Nationals and my bike to run transition that ruined the race for me. I can accept my placing if I know I laid everything on the line during the race, but the way I destroyed T-2 was un-acceptable. So, as I qualified again for the 2013 Nationals which will be held in Milwaukee Wisconsin in August, I plan on being better prepared so when I finish I can say it is what it is and I did my best, whatever the outcome.

I plan on another good 2013 cross season as well. As it's hard to transition to cross from triathlon in the form of power jumps, I'm looking to get in some Westlake training races once again which will give me the training for that. I haven't did many Westlake's in the past two years so it should be exciting once again. I did alot of cross workout's at the Outdoor YMCA in Perry which helped alot for this season, but there's nothing like the intensity of the Westlake races.

We're gearing up right now for some long trail running races in 2013. We have a few 1/2 Marathons on the schedule and possibly a Marathon in the Spring along with our annual (different state early spring triathlon) which will be the Taylorsville Kentucky 70.3 in May, which is just outside of Louisville. In fact, when we go to Louisville in February to watch the Elite World CX race, we're going to ride the 70.3 bike course while we're there.

So as we start the new year in another week I would just like to say to everyone that I have raced, rode, ran and swam with over the years and also to the new faces that are popping up at the tri's and cross races, keep running, riding, swimming, skiing, hiking, kayaking etc. and stay the course even though you might feel like throwing in the towel sometimes, because this endurance lifestyle that we live is an awesome one and one that we can keep on living for a lifetime.

Thanks for reading.


"The Fields" @ Broadview Heights

This was the season finale in the NEOCX series and it couldn't have been any more throwback from the early days of the Lake Effect cyclocross Series. Typical cold, muddy, wet conditions made riding in some spots nearly impossible, this is what brought back the memories for me. I remember suffering through A & B races at this course looking at the lap cards and thinking this race will never end. I remember winning at this course and feeling like a true cx'er since this is one hard ass course for sure and I also remember all the hours our team has spent (mostly Julie and Rudy) taking care of all the legalities, mapping out courses, taping, building fires in the pavilion etc... all of them great memories for sure.
Our team really came together once again for this event and everyone that participated did a fine job. Each person contributed their part and that's why this race came together so well, thank you all!

I lined up with the large Masters 35-45+ field and when the horn went off it was a fast sprint through the wet grass and mud with a 90* turn to more of the same until we came out onto the pavement. Once onto the pavement my legs were already filled with lactic acid and I had to spin them out and recover somewhat. I did just that before we came to the steep down hill with the sharp 90* left turn at the bottom. Off the bike in the twisty tree sections before the bridge and the stair run-up and my running legs were feeling good! Back on the bike and a power climb up the singletrack muddy hill and onto the gravel drive to the field area and I had to recover once again. Just off the gravel I regained and ramped it up. Around the 180 and onto the straight to the 2nd section of twists through the trees was hard. I rode the tree section and ran the last deep mud corner, re-mounted and rode hard through the deep mud. Recovered on the off camber twists and the downhill along the road and hit the steep run-up before the parking lot. Recovered in the parking lot until the 90* left turn on the sidewalk section onto the tricky off camber stuff around the basketball court and then back through the start finish. That was the way I rode and ran the course. I felt decent in this race but tired, but that was to be expected. I was in a good battle with one of the Pittsburgh 35+ riders the whole time. He would gap me in the open areas and I would catch him in the technical spots. He bobbled on the tricky uphill left turn before the finish and I gapped him and then he caught me again in the grassy area just past the pavilion, it was a good see-saw battle. In the end I finished 4th 45+ with Craig Cozza (Pro Bikes from P.A.) taking the win, Derek Wilford (Team Spin) 2nd., Dave Bartels (Allied Decals) 3rd. and Chris Riccardi (Team Lake Effect) getting 5th. I finished out the series taking 3rd. overall in the Masters 45+ division with Joe Pollato taking the win and Dave Bartels finishing 2nd. Nice job guys!

Julie was 2nd in the Women A with Gwen close behind, Rudy was 2nd in the SS and in the Open B race Tony came out of retirement / hibernation and took the overall win. He got the hole shot and never looked back, not too bad for not racing in 4 months! Scott Gart-Man and Max Hannibal raced the Open B race as well and finished nicely.
In the Elite race TLE had 3 of the top 5 spots with Johnny taking the win, N8.L 2nd. and Roberto 4th.
Joe P,. Mike V., Nate S., Craig H., Jeff C., all rode extremely hard and made TLE proud as usual!

Thanks go out to Sherman for hosting the after race party with food and beverages back at Bike Authority, it was much appreciated, and last but not least, Thanks to everyone that came out and supported the NEOCX series and the Bike Authority/Team Lake Effect races this season everyone really raced hard and looked great!

See you all in 2013!


Hard day in Hiram

Butternut Hill CX presented by Bike Authority / Team Lake Effect Racing was hosted graciously at Rosalie and Tom Franek's tree farm in Hiram. The property is located just North of Hiram on beautiful rolling terrain through spruce and fir trees which made for some great racing. The day before the race, we put the final touches on the course and did a few laps to see how the flow was going to be. It was good, nice dry conditions and warm temperatures and we were all saying that it would be really nice if this nice weather would hold out til after the race tomorrow, since they were calling for rain, but still mild temps. Well I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain pelting the side of my house and knew instantly that we were going to be in for some tough conditions, but hey, like I said before, cross racing is all about racing in all kinds of weather.

 My race went off at Noon and it had been raining all morning so the course was now pretty rutted up and sloppy, so picking lines and bike handling were key especially with the off camber sections and 180's. I chose to run the muddy off camber's and some of the 180's in the back of the course and it worked out much better and faster, for me anyway. I was in a hard battle right from the start and it never let up. There were no recovery sections on the course either so that made it even harder. Dave Bartels and I were once again fighting it out in good fashion, I was on his wheel and vise versa until a slight bobble caused a gap and I was able to get away. I managed to catch my team-mate Chris Riccardi and we were holding strong together until I washed out on a corner in the upper pine tree section on the 3rd. lap and Chris rode away. That was okay because he was sitting 2nd 45+ and I was 3rd. I remounted quickly but just a slight bobble opens a big gap that is hard to close, especially on this course. I did manage to close the gap back to Chris and he and I were together again on the last lap. I looked back a few times and could see Dave and Derek Wilford (Team Spin) gaining and I told Chris we have to go, these guys are coming. I got around Chris just before the rooted run-up near the road and was on the back of Chris Huck's (Snakebite Racing) wheel now but there wasn't really any room to get by him at this point. He hammered it on the slight downhill leading to the front pine tree section and I could't come around anywhere through there so I thought I would wait to try to sprint it out at the finish. It did come down to a sprint but Chris got me on another sprint finish... Last time it was Dave this time Chris, Nope, not a sprinter am I, but it's great racing.

TLE rounded out the Masters 45+ podium again with Joe Pollato taking the win, myself 2nd. and Chris Riccardi 3rd., great racing again guys! Congrats to all that raced, it was probably one of the hardest ever.
Also a huge Thank You to the Franek's for the use of their property and their hospitality and all of our team-mates and volunteers that came out to help set-up and tear down, this race wouldn't have happened without everyone. See you all this weekend in Broadview Heights for the last NEOCX race of the season.


NEOCX Ride On Wooster

Sunday was the second race sponsored by Ride On Cycling from Wooster and they picked a great venue at the Ohio State Agricultural Center in Wooster. The course was hidden away from all main roads since it was on the huge campus of the Agriculture / Arburetum Center with plenty of real estate to make a great cross course with a mountain bike course feel to it. The race started on an uphill road leading to a sharp left onto the course that would only safely allow 2 riders side by side, but the start of cross races are all about getting position early and sometime safety is left to the wayside, but on this start everyone handled their bikes very well and there was no crashing going on.

After the first sector of heart rates above aerobic threshold, there was no time to recover and it was on to the big climb on the course that drove heart rates even higher which lead to the single-track sectors which were all up on the way out and technical switch back sections, log barriers and road sections on the way back down, all fun, but you had to stay focused the whole time or you had a good chance of stacking it up against a tree or washing out on an off camber turn.

I managed to get a decent start that put me in good position to stay with the early leaders and once we hit the first big climb I was in the lead group. By the time we hit the top of the climb and started into the singletrack we had a group of about eight or nine and seemed to be rolling through the techy stuff pretty smooth. The second lap broke things apart a little more on the big climb which split our group up with Joe Pollato and Brook Furio (NorthbrookGarner Cycling) taking the lead. Guys started to get gassed on the long climb and by the third lap I was in a group of four with Dave Bartels (Summit Freewheelers) and we were sitting 2nd and 3rd Master 45+. We were keeping the pace very high and on the bell lap (lap 6) just before the finish I attacked the group but was pretty gassed by the time we hit the last long climb and Brett Thompson (Summit Freewheelers) and a Columbus rider put in a hard attack that myself and Dave could not follow. We rode the last lap hard and Dave was right with me the whole time. I knew that I had to try to attack in spots to see if I could get rid of him, but he was riding very sound and hard so I knew it was going to come to a sprint finish. We exited the last bit of singletrack and came onto the uphill paved finish and it was a full on drag race to the line, we were side by side the whole sprint and Dave came by me right at the end to take 2nd 45+ and  me at 3rd 45+ and 5th and 6th overall 35-45+ Masters. Dave, it was great racing with you and that's what it's all about, keep up the strong riding.

TLE once again showed up in force and took top spots in all races, most impressive though was Steve Twining's dominance of the Elite race which he made winning look easy. Hats off to all my team-mates for coming out and riding so hard each and every weekend, what a great team!

Next two races in the series are sponsored by Bike Authority / Team Lake Effect. The Dec. 2nd race in Hiram and the Dec. 9th race in Broadview Hts. See you all there.



This weekend was the Solon stop on the NEOCX circuit here in Cleveland. Unusually warm and sunny weather greeted us on Sunday and we all took that as a plus along with the great course that the Chagrin River Cycling Team had set up. Despite the USGP race in Louisville Kentucky that was going on over the weekend, the turnout was good and the racing was as hard and fast as usual.
I got a front row start in the combined Masters 35-45+ and when the horn went off I was rolling pretty well. On and off the gas through the tight switch-backs, keeping the bike upright through the mud sectors and concentrating not to wash out on all the tight corners, tire pressure and tire choice was obviously a large factor in this race. After the front of the race established itself, Chris Riccardi (Team Lake Effect) and myself were riding strong together. Chris was having a good race and was riding very technically sound. I was content to hang with him since we were sitting 4th and 5th overall and 2nd and 3rd 45+ and Joe Pollato, our team-mate, was battling for 1st 45+ and overall once again. Chris and I hit a technical corner on the front side of the course and I partially washed out my front end and lost contact with him, that was ok because he was rolling well on his own. Chris was now just ahead of me and I thought if I can keep this gap between him and I, I will be good for holding my position, that is if I don't go down in the mud or the slick corners. On the bell lap I picked up the pace, stayed upright and had my fastest lap since the first one. I rolled in for 3rd Master 45+ and 5th overall. Team Lake Effect once again swept the 45+ podium with Joe Pollato, Chris Riccardi and me. Nice racing guys and nice overall win Joe.

Next stop on the circuit is this weekend at the Ohio State Agricultural Center in Wooster sponsored by Ride On Cycling. See you all there.


Chagrin CX Challenge

First off, Thank you Brett Davis and Mr. and Mrs. Davis for once again letting us crazy cyclocross racers invade your property, you are very gracious hosts and a super nice family.

Brett and gang once again did a great job with the course layout and all the festivities to make this a great event, although Mother Nature wasn't wanting to cooperate this weekend with the rain and hurricane Sandy that was moving in. The course was indeed wet and muddy and slick like ice in spots, but cyclocross is about racing in all kinds of conditions. I raced only on Saturday of the two race weekend event and had a good race. I managed to handle my bike pretty well and stayed up the entire race, felt strong and was in a good race for a top position the whole time. I got a decent start and managed to work my way to top 3 by the end of the first lap. I kept steady and managed to catch Joe Pollato which is my team-mate by the end of the last lap which was for 2nd overall. Joe had been riding steady the whole race and is sitting in the top of the Masters 45+ group. He got on my wheel for the remainder of the last lap until the finish when he passed me for the 45+ win and 2nd overall, I rolled in right behind for 3rd overall and 2nd 45+, Chris Huck once again won the overall and the Masters 35+, nice racing you guys, you make it hard but fun!

We decided to pull the plug on the Sunday race since it was a torrential downpour. We did alot of clean-up on clothing and gear the day before from racing in the mud and we weren't really keen on doing it again. Tony and I decided to head out for a local trail run since we both like to run in the rain, so a trail run it was.
We ran for an hour and a half, got back to the car and we both were soaked to the bone and cold, so I say this..anyone that raced today, my hat is off to you.

Next weekend is the Cincinnati three day UCI event. I'm opting out of that and thinking of doing the Raccoon CX race in Beaver Pennsylvania, that is if the State of Pennsylvania is still there after the "Perfect Storm" rolls through.

Nice racing everyone and those that are going to Cincy, have some good races!


Military cross

This race was put on by the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association and JR Petsko in Oakdale P.A. a suburb of Pittsburgh. The race was on the site of an old Nike Site, which was used for radar and bomb deployment during the cold war era. There were several of them around this area as well, one of them you could see from Rt.2 in Painesville just West of the Painesville exit. They are since long gone, but alot of the buildings and grounds still stand. This particular one was kind of perfect for a cross race. Lots of terrain changes and paved sections with a set of man made barriers and wooden steps and  very short steep slippery climb that most had to dismount and carry the bike up.

I lined up in the 40+ Masters race which included some pretty big names, Gerry Pflug, Gunnar Shogren, Jeff Guy, and other Cat.1-2 studs. This was basically an open Masters with all categories represented. I had a second row call up which wasn't too bad and when the horn went off I got a good start on the pavement until we went into the twisty technical section all bottled up together. Someone washed out in front of me and I almost went down, got my balance and someone else hit me and I went down this time. I got up fast and started running with my bike, re-mounted only to find my chain had came off, off again to put the chain back on and by this time the last guy in line had passed me. The group wasn't that far ahead so I jumped on it for the remainder of the race, rode strong and climbed well to gain many positions back. I finished top 10 which I was happy about but I know if the crash wouldn't have happened I would have surely been a few places better.

Hats off to the guys that designed the course and the day, very well done and thank you all!

Next up is the 2 day weekend Chagrin Cyclocross festival at Brett Davis', see you all there.